These findings add another level of regulation to a previous model linking the intake of vitamin D supplements with higher levels of anti-inflammatory molecules and lower levels of pro-inflammatory molecules in MS patients. These vitamin D-induced molecular changes now were found to be driven by an increased production of IL-27 and TGF-beta 1.
While the data support the notion that taking vitamin D supplements may ease inflammation and nerve cell damage in MS patients, further studies evaluating the association between these vitamin D-associated molecular changes and clinical parameters in MS patients are needed, the researchers noted.
The results also showed that vitamin D supplements promoted similar, but less pronounced, anti-inflammatory responses in first-degree relatives of MS patients, suggesting that these supplements may be used as an MS preventive approach.
The study, “The impact of vitamin D3 intake on inflammatory markers in multiple sclerosis patients and their first-degree relatives,” was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
While the underlying mechanisms of MS remain poorly understood, it is thought that a dysregulation of pro- and anti-inflammatory molecules may contribute to the disease. That is why immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory treatments are considered promising approaches for MS.
Increasing evidence points to vitamin D as a potentially important immunomodulator in MS. Several studies have shown that MS patients have lower-than-normal levels of vitamin D, and that low levels may raise a person’s risk of developing the disease, or a patient’s risk of relapse and earlier disability.
MS patients with vitamin D deficiency show a more pronounced molecular shift toward a pro-inflammatory state, suggesting that vitamin D may have an immunomodulatory effect that favors the production of anti-inflammatory molecules.
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